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A phylum of mainly terrestrial vascular plants (see tracheophyte) – the ferns. Ferns are perennial plants bearing large conspicuous leaves (fronds: see megaphyll) usually arising from either a rhizome or a short erect stem. Bracken is a common example. Only the tree ferns have stems that reach an appreciable height. There is a characteristic uncurling of the young leaves as they expand into the adult form. Reproduction is by means of spores borne on the underside of specialized leaves (sporophylls).

Subjects: Biological Sciences.

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